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No Place To Play Or Smoke - Texas Oil And Gas Sites

Photo of Benny Agosto

Between 1983 and 2010, 44 people have been killed and 25 others have been injured on oil and gas sites throughout the country. These sites aren't just dangerous places for workers; they are attractive nuisances for teens and young adults who mistakenly believe the oilfields or refinery areas are safe places to hang out or meet up with friends.

The Chemical Safety Board (CSB) would like the Texas Railroad Commission to create stricter safety standards for oil and gas sites throughout the state. They are simply too accessible and should have improved mechanisms to keep others off the dangerous premises. Among the safety requests are improved signage warning people of the dangers of an oil and gas site, requiring that the hatches on tanks be properly secured and improving the design of tanks used at oil and gas sites.

Already this year, two people in Van Zandt County have been hospitalized in an oil and gas site accident. The two 24-year-old Texans were sitting on top of a storage tank smoking when the tank exploded and ignited several others nearby. A similar oil and gas site accident occurred in East Texas in 2010. A man was seriously injured and a woman was fatally injured when the storage tanker they were sitting on in New London exploded.

Improving safety measures at oil and gas sites just makes sense. According to one proponent, swimming pools are required to be fenced in, so why not these large tanks that can explode after a cigarette is lighted?

Source: Fuel Fix, "Federal investigators urge Texas to tighten safety rules," February 4, 2013

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